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Planning Your Trip

As the capital of a country with the oldest civilization in the world, which also currently happens to have one of the fastest-growing economies, Beijing is a rare breed of city where ancient relics and hypermodern developments coexist in surprising harmony. Here’s a packing guide for your trip.


Business Travel

Despite its frenetic economic growth, Beijing remains a traditional city, and the expected business attire and etiquette reflect that.

 

 

  • Men are required to wear navy, black or gray suits with neutral ties and dark-colored shoes.
  • Women should also wear tailored pantsuits or dress suits. In the case of the latter, make sure your skirt falls no more than two inches above the knee. Skip the high heels for demure closed-toe shoes.
  • Pack a sleek briefcase or a document holder to complete your professional look.   
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Exploring the City

From trekking the Great Wall to wandering the palaces of the Forbidden City, Beijing is a sprawling metropolis with a wealth of things to see.

 

  • Pickpockets may lurk around crowded tourist sites, so bring a purse that zips or a messenger bag you can wear close to your body.
  • Comfortable shoes are a must if you don’t want to be stuck on the Great Wall with aching feet.
  • Pack extra layers to account for temperature changes between the humid outdoors and cooler, air-conditioned indoors.
An armchair and a pot of Chinese tea sit next to a window

Cultural Considerations

Conservatism still reigns in this cosmopolitan city. You’ll want to be respectful in ancient landmarks and be mindful of certain customs.

 

  • Red is considered a very auspicious color in China. If you have any accessories or clothing in that shade, throw them in your suitcase.
  • For visits to historical sites and sacred temples, bring a pashmina or sweater to cover bare shoulders.
  • Even in summer, short shorts and revealing clothing are frowned upon. Opt instead for loose, breezy fabrics.

 


DON'T FORGET:

It’s customary to exchange business cards at all professional meetings in Beijing, so be sure to pack a large stack. Remember to present and receive cards with both hands as a sign of respect.


Beijing sits at a crossroads between the traditional and the new. Here, you’ll see amazing feats of both ancient and modern architecture (the latter consists of skyscrapers built by star architects like Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas) and play witness to China’s dizzying growth. Here’s what to book to get the most out of your trip.

Dining Reservations


Of the numerous options you have for Peking duck, Beijing’s most famous dish, Duck de Chine tops the list. Here, the duck is crisped to perfection on 60-year-old jujube wood, then carved tableside and sprinkled with DDC’s signature hoisin sauce. For the other regional specialty, zhajiangmian, hand-pulled noodles in a soybean paste, go to Old Beijing Zhajiang Noodle King. For a dining experience in a hutong, which is a traditional neighborhood of narrow alleyways and courtyards, go to the romantic, menu-less Dali Courtyard, where the chef serves Yunnan cuisine based on whatever fresh ingredients he’s sourced that day. Finally, enjoy upscale Chinese cuisine paired with a fantastic wine list at The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore’s Yu.  

Tours


The city is brimming with landmarks anchoring a remarkable history that stretches back millennia. Ask The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore’s concierge to help arrange a private tour. The absolute musts? The Great Wall (seventh century B.C.); the Forbidden City palace complex, which was home to 24 emperors from the Ming (15th century) to Qing dynasties (20th century); the Summer Palace (18th century), a luxe royal park of lakes and imperial gardens; a temple dedicated to Confucius (14th century); and the Temple of Heaven (15th century), a cluster of religious buildings built as a place for sacrifices and prayers to heaven.  

Museum Tickets & Cultural Sights


In recent years, Beijing has become an emerging destination for art, and much of it can be found in the rapidly gentrifying 798 Arts District. Check out M Woods, an acclaimed contemporary museum (it hosts exhibits of superstars like Tracey Emin and Andy Warhol) whose 25-year-old co-founder, Michael Xufu Huang, has been called the next-gen Jeffrey Deitch of China. Farther afield, on the outskirts of Beijing, there’s the Three Shadows Photography Center, designed by Ai Wei Wei, perhaps the country’s most well-known artist, and said to be the first gallery in China devoted to photography.  

Afternoon Tea/Tea Ceremonies


Drinking tea is an important part of Chinese culture and the preparation of it is elevated to a ritualized art form. Learn about the history and process — and participate in a tasting — at one of the city’s many teahouses. At Laoshe, you can sample different teas while enjoying performances by acrobats, dancers and magicians. For a more relaxing environment, go to Liuxianguan, which has hosted former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, and has a serenity that might be influenced by the Temple of Confucius across the street.

The history of Beijing spans millennia. One visit to China’s complex capital city can include a sip of Sichuan pepper-infused craft beer or a walk around the hip Arts District, soaking in the contemporary works from the city’s creative set, and a day trip to the Zhoukoudian archaeological site, where the 770,000-year-old fossils of Peking Man were discovered. Plan to experience the spectrum, exploring the art, architecture, history, cuisine and natural landscape in this exhilarating city.


Day Trips

While visitors could spend weeks uncovering Beijing’s multitude of treasures, epic wonders beckon just outside the city limits. Here are three day trips designed to explore the Great Wall of China, the Summer Palace, Peking Man and more.

 

 

 

 

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The Perfect Weekend (2 Days)

Much like China’s dynamic capital city itself, the perfect weekend in Beijing is all about contrast. Dine on contemporary European cuisine in a 600-year-old temple, zip through the city’s teeming hutongs (narrow alleys) and amble around serene spiritual gardens, examine ancient relics and browse design shops for sleek souvenirs. Spend two inspiring days balancing adventure and relaxation in beautiful, exhilarating Beijing.

 

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